The dreaded MOT! Every year we all must brave the local mechanic in the hope that our vehicle passes with flying colours and – most importantly – doesn’t cost us a pretty penny in repairs. But did you know that the majority of faults on an MOT can be fixed before you even enter the garage, just through simple maintenance?

Despite that, a recent survey found that less than half of car owners in the UK are comfortable with carrying out even simple jobs on their vehicle. Here’s a rundown of what exactly is included in the MOT test, so that you can try and avoid unnecessary failures when it comes to the big day.

Lights and electricals

The car will be checked for the position, condition, focus, security, colour, compatibility and functionality of all headlights, brake lights, fog lights, side lights, indicators and reflectors. Additionally, pairs of headlights must be uniform in colour, shape and size, as well as being positioned so as not to blind other drivers.

The battery, electrical wiring and horn must all be functional, secure and not show significant signs of damage or wear and tear.

Handling and suspension

The steering wheel will be tested for its condition and performance by pushing in both directions and making a note of any damage that has been accrued. Any locking devices must only be operational when the engine is switched off, while all vehicles with power steering should arrive at the test with at least the minimum amount of power steering fluid in the appropriate tank.

Shock absorbers (sometimes known as dampers) and other facets of suspension will be tested for wear and tear, rust and distortion.

Brakes

A brake test will determine the performance of the brakes, while the individual components (levers, pads, etc) will also be examined for signs of damage or wear and tear.

Wheels and tyres

The tyres must be suitable for the vehicle in question and have a tread depth of no less than 1.6mm – it’s possible to check this effectively before the MOT by inserting a 20p into the tread at home. Tyre pressure must be sound and all tyres will be thoroughly inspected for excessive cuts, tears, bulges or lumps.

car tyres maintenance, MOT

Seat belts

All seats must have belts in good working condition.

Exhaust and emissions

The fuel and exhaust system will be thoroughly checked for leaks or other faults and must be secure and safe. If the car originally had a catalytic converter, it must still be present in order to pass the test. All fumes will be tested using a gas analysis monitor to ensure they fall within the appropriate legal limits.

Mirrors and windscreen

All mirrors must be securely attached and all windscreen wipers must function properly and over a big enough radius to give an adequate view of the road. There cannot be chips, cracks or other damages directly in front of the driver’s line of view bigger than 10mm in diameter; in all other areas of the windshield, the damages can’t be larger than 40mm.

Miscellaneous

The exterior chassis and other parts must not show excessive rusting or have sharp edges which could cut or injure. Both number plates must be securely affixed and be free from blemishes or anything else that could make them difficult to read. Furthermore, the vehicle identification number (VIN) must be clearly on display somewhere on the vehicle, while it also must have a speedometer (with working backlight) in place, as well.

What’s Checked in an MOT?